Two transfers - An Octoroon and Sea Wall - are they as good in bigger venues? Or a shout out for diversity.
It's great to see small production transfer to bigger venues so more people get to experience them but there is always a danger they lose something in a larger space.
An Octoroon first wowed me at the Orange Tree in Richmond where it served as a reminder of why I go to the theatre. (You can read my original review of An Octoroon here.)
Its transfer is to the Dorfman at the National Theatre which is a great choice as the space is flexible so the original staging, with the audience on four sides, can easily be recreated.
You would think it would lose some of its intimacy in the bigger venue but it didn't.
And crucially An Octoroon is a testament to not only why we need plays that reflect a more diverse narrative but also why theatres need to be attracting a more diverse audience.
By diverse I'm talking about both age and ethnicity.
I've written before the difference it makes sitting in an audience that is more reflective of London's population, it makes for a less staid, less vanilla theatre-going experience.
And so it was for An Octoroon, right from the very beginning when the fourth wall was broken and there was a verbal response to actor Ken Nwosu's greeting when he came on stage.
This was an audience engaged and gripped from the outset and it just heightens your own enjoyment being part of that collective experience.
Go see An Octoroon if you can get a ticket. It's just as brilliant at the Dorfman, details at the end of the post.